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Author Topic: FirstBits.com - remember and share Bitcoin addresses  (Read 24415 times)
zef
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June 29, 2011, 01:56:02 PM
 #81

really cool idea.  I am assuming firstbits returns the earliest known address if there are several others that match the search. this way u avoid collisions with new addresses as they are added to the chain.


actually now that i think about it, what happens with addresses not in the block chain? for example, if a businesses had to generate a new address for every transaction and used your service.  unless you are saving every search address, its possible u would return the same firstbit address for different bitcoin addresses.
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June 29, 2011, 03:21:38 PM
 #82

really cool idea.  I am assuming firstbits returns the earliest known address if there are several others that match the search. this way u avoid collisions with new addresses as they are added to the chain.


actually now that i think about it, what happens with addresses not in the block chain? for example, if a businesses had to generate a new address for every transaction and used your service.  unless you are saving every search address, its possible u would return the same firstbit address for different bitcoin addresses.
Yes, it returns the address that appears earliest in the blockchain if multiple addresses match the query.

The address must have been used in the blockchain in order to appear.  You cannot use firstbits for a brand new address.
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June 29, 2011, 05:13:49 PM
 #83

really cool idea.  I am assuming firstbits returns the earliest known address if there are several others that match the search. this way u avoid collisions with new addresses as they are added to the chain.


actually now that i think about it, what happens with addresses not in the block chain? for example, if a businesses had to generate a new address for every transaction and used your service.  unless you are saving every search address, its possible u would return the same firstbit address for different bitcoin addresses.

Doesn't work well for creating address on the fly. This is a good way to remember a static payment address when there.

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June 29, 2011, 10:49:49 PM
 #84

I am curious as to what people think about services like this... does this take away or add to Bitcoin mass adoption?

This essentially "de-anonymizes" the highly obfuscated nature of Bitcoins' native addresses which, like most aspects of Bitcoins, is a virtue and a vice.

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June 29, 2011, 10:52:10 PM
 #85

I am curious as to what people think about services like this... does this take away or add to Bitcoin mass adoption?

This essentially "de-anonymizes" the highly obfuscated nature of Bitcoins' native addresses which, like most aspects of Bitcoins, is a virtue and a vice.
Says the man with a bitcoin address in his sig...

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June 29, 2011, 11:51:25 PM
 #86

I am curious as to what people think about services like this... does this take away or add to Bitcoin mass adoption?

This essentially "de-anonymizes" the highly obfuscated nature of Bitcoins' native addresses which, like most aspects of Bitcoins, is a virtue and a vice.

Since it is completely optional I don't see how it could take anything away from adoption. It is a tool people can use if it makes Bitcoin easier or better for them. And it isn't more information than a full address anyway. Reusing a firstbits is the same as reusing a full address. Publishing a firstbits is the same as publishing a full address.

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netrin
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June 30, 2011, 12:34:50 AM
 #87

I am curious as to what people think about services like this... does this take away or add to Bitcoin mass adoption?

This essentially "de-anonymizes" the highly obfuscated nature of Bitcoins' native addresses which, like most aspects of Bitcoins, is a virtue and a vice.

It does nothing to de-anonymize, but perhaps de-mystify, which can only be good for mass bitcoin adoption. As FreeMoney points out FirstBits.com is completely voluntary and takes absolutely no different action whether you participate or not. It's results present facts. The 'first bits' just are. The fact that you have a height in meters and or feet makes no additional assertion upon your identity because there is nothing connecting the scalar to the identity. Just as '1' uniquely identifies an address in the genesis block against all other transaction before it (in this case none). Whether FirstBits.com existed or not does not change this fact that no other address has this property.

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June 30, 2011, 02:51:52 AM
 #88

I am curious as to what people think about services like this... does this take away or add to Bitcoin mass adoption?

This essentially "de-anonymizes" the highly obfuscated nature of Bitcoins' native addresses which, like most aspects of Bitcoins, is a virtue and a vice.
Says the man with a bitcoin address in his sig...

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FreeMoney
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June 30, 2011, 10:31:56 AM
 #89

Firstbits.com is giving away some money. http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=24514.0

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netrin
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June 30, 2011, 05:14:43 PM
 #90

I would like to see the 'first bit' concept accepted as a standard. Blockexplorer should use it as well as the clients. Since the clients have a copy of the entire block chain (at least now and for the foresable future) the 'first bit' standard could be universal. And any clients which do not have the entire block chain will rely on a trusted server which does.

A "first bits" unambiguously refers to an address which unambiguously refers to a private key which unambiguously refers to a slice of the transaction history and ownership of bitcoin value.

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June 30, 2011, 08:00:46 PM
 #91

I would like to see the 'first bit' concept accepted as a standard. Blockexplorer should use it as well as the clients. Since the clients have a copy of the entire block chain (at least now and for the foresable future) the 'first bit' standard could be universal. And any clients which do not have the entire block chain will rely on a trusted server which does.

A "first bits" unambiguously refers to an address which unambiguously refers to a private key which unambiguously refers to a slice of the transaction history and ownership of bitcoin value.

I think it would be a great addition to blockexplorer or similar and I really want a web wallet with integration, but firstbits does have the disadvantage of no checksum, one typo and your money is gone. So I think it needs something else before it's fit for the main client.


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netrin
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July 01, 2011, 01:39:49 AM
 #92

I would like to see the 'first bit' concept accepted as a standard. Blockexplorer should use it as well as the clients....
I think it would be a great addition to blockexplorer or similar and I really want a web wallet with integration, but...

I agree.

...but firstbits does have the disadvantage of no checksum...

I disagree. The 34-some string requires a checksum because it is so darn long. A 1+4 or 5 character (of size 34 domain) does not need a checksum (like a phone number). I expect we'll have a MIME type so that firstbits.com/1xxxx resolves a very well defined string (perhaps a meta tag). I've seen discussion of a bitcoin:123456789012345678901234567890+payment format. But the key advantage of firstbits is not verbosity, but brevity.

As for UX, if the user comes in through a URL, I see no reason to present much more than the fully resolved address. But if the user uses the form/input, then more likely than not, he's playing with his own address. I'd highly recommend you explain what the user is seeing. It has not tiny-url-ed the address (as many like me initially assumed). Even now that I know how it works, I'm still manually typing in 1+8 characters and cutting one then another until I find the minimum. Its a trivial, but strange, procedure (partly because the client doesn't yet let me 'copy-paste' from the transaction history).

I would expect the interface to dynamically inform me of the number of collisions (always showing me the 'firstbit') as I type, cuz I'm probably typing with the full string at my side, otherwise, I would have used a link.

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July 01, 2011, 02:07:04 AM
 #93

netrin - input the FULL bitcoin address that you wish to shorten, and it will automatically find the shortest firstbits that can be associated with that address.

Example:  http://firstbits.com/18TKNbSLTrd3a2W8mtoH5uNzFhWRWNcuHU

EDIT:  The cutoff is at 24 chars.  Anything longer than 24 chars, and it knows that it is not a firstbits address, but a full bitcoin address, so it converts the input to the shortest possible firstbits address.  Anything shorter than 24 chars, and it knows that it is a firstbits address, and will look for the associated full bitcoin address.
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July 01, 2011, 02:54:51 AM
 #94

Hey, this is an awesome concept. I applaud you guys for coming up with it.

Removing the cases is a good thing because it would be hard for people to have to deal with upper and lower cases. There might be one gotcha though. Do you handle 2 addresses with the same characters but different cases properly. I know this is a rare edge case, but make sure you handle it. For example, 1abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz and 1abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwXYZ should not both match to the same firstbits 1abcd. The first one in the block chain should match to 1abcd and then second one should match to 1abcde. Just a thought.

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July 01, 2011, 03:23:21 AM
 #95

Hey, this is an awesome concept. I applaud you guys for coming up with it.

Removing the cases is a good thing because it would be hard for people to have to deal with upper and lower cases. There might be one gotcha though. Do you handle 2 addresses with the same characters but different cases properly. I know this is a rare edge case, but make sure you handle it. For example, 1abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz and 1abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwXYZ should not both match to the same firstbits 1abcd. The first one in the block chain should match to 1abcd and then second one should match to 1abcde. Just a thought.
They won't match, don't worry.  Whichever comes first will be the only one to match.  All comparisons/queries are made without regard to case.
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July 01, 2011, 04:41:03 AM
 #96

I would like to see the 'first bit' concept accepted as a standard. Blockexplorer should use it as well as the clients....
I think it would be a great addition to blockexplorer or similar and I really want a web wallet with integration, but...

I agree.

...but firstbits does have the disadvantage of no checksum...

I disagree. The 34-some string requires a checksum because it is so darn long. A 1+4 or 5 character (of size 34 domain) does not need a checksum (like a phone number). I expect we'll have a MIME type so that firstbits.com/1xxxx resolves a very well defined string (perhaps a meta tag). I've seen discussion of a bitcoin:123456789012345678901234567890+payment format. But the key advantage of firstbits is not verbosity, but brevity.

As for UX, if the user comes in through a URL, I see no reason to present much more than the fully resolved address. But if the user uses the form/input, then more likely than not, he's playing with his own address. I'd highly recommend you explain what the user is seeing. It has not tiny-url-ed the address (as many like me initially assumed). Even now that I know how it works, I'm still manually typing in 1+8 characters and cutting one then another until I find the minimum. Its a trivial, but strange, procedure (partly because the client doesn't yet let me 'copy-paste' from the transaction history).

I would expect the interface to dynamically inform me of the number of collisions (always showing me the 'firstbit') as I type, cuz I'm probably typing with the full string at my side, otherwise, I would have used a link.

A phone number doesn't need a checksum because the worst case scenario is "Uh, who?".

I'm not going to add a checksum, I'm just aware of the risk and don't know if it would be appropriate to add to the 'official' client, but hey if it gets popular and everyone wants it maybe they'll do it.

You aren't getting it and that means I need to rethink the page wording. Enter a firstbits address and you get the one and only Bitcoin address that is the earliest to start with that string. Enter a Bitcoin address and you get the string that differentiates it from all earlier addresses in the chain - it's firstbits address.

You do not need to try over and over like you describe.

Showing the number of matches would be a lot of work for no benefit and possible confusion. All addresses start with "1" but only one has the firstbits "1" - the generate address in the genesis block. The number of collisions is not relevant.

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July 01, 2011, 06:11:20 AM
 #97

Cool.

I was going to say - what this really needs is a Firefox Search plugin that makes it so the web site doesn't need to be there, or get hammered, it just goes to the block chain.

But then I remembered my "Add To Search Bar" add-on and tried that. Sure enough one -right-click and FirstBits is now a search entry on the Firefox Search Bar. I can drop an address in there and it does the magic.

Though a real plugin would bypass the web site, saving server  load. And it could add a context menu to do the lookup too.

BTW I think an extra character is a good idea for "future proofing". Maybe the web page should show it as a second alternative, as in "safer version". In my case it's just as easy to recall,

18M5c or 18M5cm (eighteen M5 centimeter)

Maybe a "verbalizer" string would be cool. How to remember it.

If you find the first partial version of an unused address and add two more correct characters would you be reasonably safe to use that for a new address? It seems to me quite safe. Not sure of the probability though.

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July 01, 2011, 06:36:37 AM
 #98


If you find the first partial version of an unused address and add two more correct characters would you be reasonably safe to use that for a new address? It seems to me quite safe. Not sure of the probability though.

Seems pretty safe unless you were the target of an attack. The chance of a problem has to do not just with the number of extra chars, but the length and time and rate at which new addresses are entering the chain.

 

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July 01, 2011, 06:45:50 AM
 #99


If you find the first partial version of an unused address and add two more correct characters would you be reasonably safe to use that for a new address? It seems to me quite safe. Not sure of the probability though.

Seems pretty safe unless you were the target of an attack. The chance of a problem has to do not just with the number of extra chars, but the length and time and rate at which new addresses are entering the chain.

 
Yes, I see. If someone ran an address gen they could claim an address before you used yours. Probably a bad idea then. Just would be useful to shorten a fresh address. So it's only maybe safe if you don't use it publicly. You keep it in your head as a ready to use address but never publish it.

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July 01, 2011, 06:51:19 AM
 #100

But another thing, does the lookup in "block explorer" search in oldest first order or most recent first order. Because if the latter it seems someone could gen a new address that matches your address prefix and use it to get it in the chain. If it searches and finds the match more recent it would find that one as the single match. But you thought of that I'm sure...

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